Showing posts from February 19, 2016

Scientists are floored by what’s happening in the Arctic right now

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[Global warming has long been known to be particularly intense in the Arctic, a phenomenon known as Arctic amplification but, coming off the hottest year ever recorded, January saw temperature rises above 7 degrees Farenheit (4 degrees Celsius) higher than the 1951-1980 average for this region. *RON*]

By Chris Mooney, Washington Post, 18 February 2016.

New data from NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration suggest that January of 2016 was, for the globe, a truly extraordinary month. Coming off the hottest year ever recorded (2015), January saw the greatest departure from average of any month on record, according to data provided by NASA.

[January was the ninth straight month of record breaking global warmth]

But as you can see in the NASA figure above, the record breaking heat wasn’t uniformly distributed — it was particularly pronounced at the top of the world, showing temperature anomalies above 4 degrees Celsius (7.2 degre…

Hedge Fund Billionaires Fund Super PAC Ad Against Bernie Sanders and Minimum Wage Hike

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[The best democracy dark money can buy. *RON*]

Zaid Jilani, The Intercept, 17 February 2016
A Super PAC called Future 45 started airing an ad this week saying Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders would hurt small businesses and kill jobs by raising the minimum wage and increasing taxes. Watch it below:

Turkey's capital Ankara rocked by deadly explosion

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[Erdogan reaps what he has sown; manages to call these attacks "which know no moral or humanitarian bounds" with a straight face. At least 28 killed and 61 wounded after car bomb reportedly targets military personnel travelling in heart of city. Meanwhile the rest of that Arab Spring is coming along nicely: Egyptian authorities move to shut down torture watchdog. *RON*]

Al Jazeera, 17 February 2016

At least 28 people have been killed and 61 more wounded in a large explosion targeting a military vehicle in heart of the Turkish capital of Ankara.

Al Jazeera's Zeina Khodr, reporting from Gaziantep, said officials believed a car bomb had caused the explosion on Wednesday evening and the target had been Turkish military personnel, who were travelling in a vehicle which was stopped at traffic lights.

The death toll rose steadily on Wednesday night, with those wounded in the blast sent to hospitals across the city.

Turkish President Recep…

Flint residents paid America's highest water rates

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[Flint paid three times what Detroiters pay. The city's water rates increased five fold over a 20-year period. This top ranking came before a court overturned the most recent rate increase. *RON*]
John Wisely, Detroit Free Press, 17 February 2016
Flint residents paid the highest water rates in America even as their water was tainted with lead, according to a national study released Tuesday by the public interest group Food and Water Watch.

A survey of the 500 largest water systems in the country, conducted last year, found that on average, Flint residents paid about $864 a year for water service, nearly double the national average and about three-and-a-half times as much as Detroiters pay. The figure is based on an annual household consumption of 60,000 gallons.

"It far exceeds what the United Nations designates as affordable for water and sewer service," said Mary Grant, one of the study's authors. The United Nations recommends t…

Ezra Levant is no journalist. And the only 'free speech' he defends is his own.

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["A few months ago, after Notley had won the Alberta election, Levant called an 'Emergency Public Meeting,' billed as 'an independent, non-partisan meeting, open to the public for free.' But that wasn't true, as it turns out. Citizen journalist and frequent Levant critic Alheli Picazo showed up to cover the event -- and she was immediately thrown out by Ezra's goons. They even called the police, who showed up, scratched their heads and went away again." *RON*]
By J. Baglow,, 17 February 2016

UPDATE: The Alberta NDP has reversed its decision and announced it will not ban any media outlet from its press conferences.

What surreal Code of the Scribblers would anoint Ezra Levant as a member of the journalistic profession?

He himself says he's not one. Most of the folks sideswiped by his vicious racism, his tic-like petulance, his boorishness, his bullying and false bravado, his reckless disregard for the tr…

Debt Slavery in Action – Texas Man Arrested for Not Paying Student Loan Debt

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[The police state meets the class wars. "Yes, Federal US Marshals spent $1,200 arresting a guy for $1,500 in debt. Brilliant use of taxpayer funds. Yet somehow they still can’t find a single bank executive who did anything wrong." *RON*]
Michael Krieger, Liberty Blitzkrieg, 16 February 2016

Laws are effective only to the extent they are enforced. A law on the books has little impact if prosecution is highly unlikely.

The failure to punish big corporations or their executives when they break the law undermines the foundations of this great country: If justice means a prison sentence for a teenager who steals a car, but it means nothing more than a sideways glance at a CEO who quietly engineers the theft of billions of dollars, then the promise of equal justice under the law has turned into a lie. The failure to prosecute big, visible crimes has a corrosive effect on the fabric of democracy and our shared belief that we are all equal in the…

The NSA’s SKYNET program may be killing thousands of innocent people

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[They deserve the worst just for smugly naming it SKYNET. "Ridiculously optimistic" machine learning algorithm is "completely bullshit," says expert. "...thousands of innocent people in Pakistan may have been mislabelled as terrorists by that 'scientifically unsound' algorithm, possibly resulting in their untimely demise." See especially the slide labelled "We've been experimenting with error metrics on both small and large data sets." In epidemiology this is called the low base-rate problem and it's unsolvable. *RON*]

by Christian Grothoff & J.M. Porup, Ars Technica UK, 16 February 2016

In 2014, the former director of both the CIA and NSA proclaimed that "we kill people based on metadata." Now, a new examination of previously published Snowden documents suggests that many of those people may have been innocent.

Last year, The Intercept published documents detailing the NSA…

Pope Francis right to name and shame Trump on immigration racism

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[There is no trick of hate and divisiveness that Trump will not turn his hand to. And, despite speculation in this story that this could work to the Donald's advantage, now: Donald Trump praises Pope Francis after US-Mexico wall row. See also: Stop Hate, Dump Trump: New Campaign Aims to Derail Presidential Bid Built on Racism & Xenophobia. *RON*]
Niall O'Dowd, Irish Central, 19 February 2016

Matthew 25: 35 I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me.

Donald Trump, 06-16-15 “Mexico sends its people, they're not sending the best..they're sending people that have lots of problems and they're bringing those problems. They're bringing drugs, they're bringing crime. They're rapists…”
Pope Francis, 02-18-16 "A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian. This is not in the gospel.&quo…